Golf Courses Ordered To Close

As quickly as golf courses opened, they were ordered to close.

The mandatory shutter followed New York adding golf courses to the list of nonessential businesses April 9.

The state had announced earlier in the month Bethpage State Park, Sunken Meadow State Park, and Montauk Downs, as well as Nassau and Suffolk County town courses and private clubs, were allowed to open because golf can be played while social distancing. On April 7, Montauk Downs had 110 players, which was considered “an extraordinary amount” for April.

Courses were extending tee times from eight minutes to 15, players were advised not to touch flagsticks or ball washers, and bunker rakes had been removed. Although many golfers were seen walking, carts were limited to a single rider and were being disinfected after each use.

Under the Empire State Development Corporation’s new guidance announced Thursday afternoon, parks can remain open, with the exception of playgrounds, and golf clubs are currently allowed to keep kitchens open.

The use of boat launches and marinas for recreational vessels is not considered essential. Any related businesses must remain closed through April 29.

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone also announced all campgrounds at county parks are closed through May 1. Playgrounds at parks have already been closed for several weeks. Any reservations made at a camp site are cancelled and refunds will be issued.

Trump’s Hunting Plan Gets Mixed Review

President Donald Trump and his administration unveiled a plan last Wednesday to open 2.3 million acres of land for hunting and fishing at more than 100 national wildlife refuges and fish hatcheries. The proposal was aimed at giving Americans more recreational access. The plan earned applause from several hunting and fishing groups, but one conservation organization called it “tone deaf” to needs during the COVID-19 pandemic, where social distancing remains a major objective to stop the spread.

There were no New York sanctuaries on the initial list of refuges being considered, but the proposal would allow fishing for the first time at several wildlife refuges.

“America’s hunters and anglers now have something significant to look forward to in the fall as we plan to open and expand hunting and fishing opportunities across more acreage nationwide than the entire state of Delaware,” Interior Secretary David Bernhardt said in a statement.

Rick Murphy contributed reporting.

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